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6th October 2012
Jonah disobeyed God and ended up on a ship going to Tarshish. The Lord sent a storm that threatened to destroy the ship and all the sailors; they threw out cargo and did everything in their power to save the ship and themselves. They cast lots to try to find out on whose account this evil had come upon them and the lot fell on Jonah.
But then the sailors were in a quandary: they feared the God of Jonah because they were experiencing the effects of His power in the raging storm that was threatening their lives, but they didn't want to throw Jonah overboard even though this appeared to be the only way to save themselves and the ship from destruction.
Jonah's disobedience not only had detrimental consequences for Jonah himself, but also negative knock-on effects on a whole bunch of 'innocent bystanders' who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time – in this instance on the wrong ship in the wrong harbour!
But when the sailors did as Jonah commanded them to do and hurled him into the sea, the storm ceased and all became calm. Their lives were spared and they had the wonderful opportunity to tangibly experience the power, mercy and grace of the one true God: "Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows."
God is so good. He has an amazing way of bringing such good and joy and blessing out of situations that appear disastrous and catastrophic. He showed mercy to the sailors who didn't know Him; He showed mercy to Jonah who did know Him yet chose to disobey Him and run away; and he showed mercy to Nineveh, a city steeped in sin and evil.
Reading: Jonah 1:7-16 and Psalm 103
Question: How can our obedience or disobedience affect those around us?
Next prayer meetings: Tomorrow at 7am and 7pm (with Dave Holden) at THC
Posted by Liz Pursglove